What is the legal definition of a child in Ireland?
Under the Child Care Act 1991 a child is defined as “a person under the age of 18 years, excluding a person who is or has been married”
What is child abuse?
There are four recognised forms of child abuse:-
- Physical abuse
- Emotional Abuse
- Sexual abuse
Definitions and signs and symptoms of child abuse can be found on pages 8 to 10 in the Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children 2011.
Who deals with child protection concerns?
The Health Service Executive (HSE) and An Garda Síochána are the two key authorities. The HSE Children and Family Services have a duty to assess reports regarding a child’s welfare or safety.
The specific focus of An Garda Síochána is on the investigation of alleged offences and whether a crime has been committed.
Each school must have a Designated Liaison Person (DLP) in place for dealing with child protection concerns. The name of the DLP should be displayed in a prominent position near the main entrance to the school.
The school DLP has responsibility for ensuring that the standard reporting procedure is followed, so that suspected child protection concerns are referred promptly to the designated person in the HSE Children and Family Services or in the event of an emergency and the unavailability of the HSE, to An Garda Síochána.
If you wish to report a child protection concern you should speak to the DLP in your school and that person will be responsible for making the report.
Where the allegation or concern relates to the DLP, you should without delay, report the matter to the Chairperson of the Board of Management or in schools where the ETB is the employer to the CEO of the ETB concerned. In such cases, the Chairperson or CEO as appropriate shall assume the role normally undertaken by the DLP and shall follow the procedures set out in section 4.2 of the Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post Primary Schools.